Posted on 14 February 2014 by Darryl

What is HTML5?

HTML is the underlying language which structures and presents content on the web. HTML5 is technically the 5th and latest revision of the HTML web standard.

Although technically the latest standard the term HTML5 is used more often as a buzzword to describe the latest web technologies, which includes HTML5, CSS3, SVG, New JavaScript API’s and others.

HTML5, using the buzzword meaning, introduces lots of new features - far too much to cover in one blog article but here is a brief description of some of features HTML5. 

Improved Forms

HTML5 has introduced many new elements to be used in forms such as

  • Placeholder – Already widely used around the web, a small descriptive label inside a text box such as ‘Search the web’.
  • New ‘types’ such as email and web addresses – This will go largely unnoticed but iPhone changes the keyboard options based on what type of input the field is set to.
  • Sliders – Allow users to slide values horizontally or vertically
  • Date Pickers – Javascript has allowed people to create date pickers, now HTML5 provides by default.
  • Color Picker
  • Improved Validation
  • Auto Focus

Although all features are not supported in all the browsers, all HTML5 form elements will degrade gracefully in every browser. So there is no excuse for not using them.

Video and Audio

One of HTML5 most highly anticipated feature was the ability to play video and audio natively. This means that video/audio can be played without the user requiring a browser plug-in, such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight.

HTML5 video usage has increased dramatically since Apple refused to allow Adobe Flash on the iPhone. 


Geolocation allows you web enabled applications to get the current location of a computer, mobile phone or any web-enabled device. Geolocation retrieves the data by checking IP Address, Wi-Fi network location, Bluetooth, 3G and GPS coordinates, then returns the location with the best accuracy (accuracy is dependent on location sources available to the device)

A property website or mobile app could return available properties near the visitor’s current location. 


In the past for websites to have animation or games, the user would, much like playing video require a browser plug-in such as Adobe Flash.

Modern web standards allow you to have animation, and even games, without the need for a special plug-ins. 

Offline Applications and Storage

Allow websites to store files and data when there is no internet connection or an unreliable connection.

Gmail uses offline storage to replicate some functionality of desktop email software like Outlook. Emails can be written and sent automatically when an internet connection is available. Received emails are downloaded to your computer so they can be read offline.

Offline storage is not widely used but as web applications become more essential to people, the demand for storing and using applications, which are not 100% reliant on an internet connection will increase. 

Drag and Drop

Traditional desktop app’s for years have allowed users to drag and drop items, files, pictures and more. Modern web technology allows websites to do the same. allows users to drag and drop attachments from your computer in to an email, like traditional email programs such as Microsoft’s Outlook. 

Changing layouts

Media queries allow you change the layout of your website based on the visitors screen size. Media Queries have become increasingly popular with the rise of smart phones. Companies can change the layout of a page 

Sounds good! The catch?

Unfortunately not all the features are available, in all web browsers.

Older browsers such as Internet Explorer 7 or 8 have little or no support for HTML5 – although some clever people have found ways of replicating HTML5 features in browsers which do not, by default, support it.

At the time of writing, HTML5 is widely supported in modern browsers such as Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla Firefox or Chrome. According to Statcounter, over 60% of users (in the UK) have a browser which is capable of HTML5, and this number continues to grow rapidly.

Creating websites or updating existing websites to use HTML5 features will allow the, ever increasing, majority of visitors a much greater experience.

Why not contact us about HTML5-ifying your website?

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